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New Street Artists 

Step aside kids with spray paint, there are some new street artists in town and they prefer to do their work with needles.

click to enlarge erin_7.jpg

Have you ever walked down the street and happened upon a bench, a tree, a bike, a tank covered in knitted yarn? Then you, my friend, have seen a yarn bombing. No longer content with socks and tea cozies, fiber artists across the globe are reclaiming public spaces by going out at night and wrapping things, from parking meters to statues, with brightly colored yarn.

Local knitter Susan Wever began a knitting group for inner city teens at the local library with a guerilla knitting theme. "We had street names and were incognito in all our photos just like graffiti artists," says Wever. "We covered items throughout the library with our knitted creations."

Most of the time, yarn bombings are not attributed and so it is hard to know who the knitters are. Indy, though, has a couple groups who take on the identity of fiber street artists including the Yarnburners who are currently working on a project to cover a piano for the GO Ahead and Play pop-up piano installation coming to the city in August. You can join in, by the way, at some of their workshops.

click to enlarge erin_8.jpg

This weekend, though, you have an excellent chance to see a large-scale yarn bombing for yourself. On May 11th, Fountain Square neighborhood will celebrate their piece of the Cultural Trail as Mass Ave Knit Shop is teaming up with Trusted Mentors, a homeless prevention mentoring program, to make one of the largest yarn bombs the city has ever seen.

Trusted Mentors, which is the neighbor to Mass Ave Knit Shop on Virginia Avenue, is creating a "house" out of PVC pipe and volunteers are asked to help knit some of the 60--6"x6" squares needed to make the shingles for the roof and also to help contribute to the 30--4"x4' rectangles for the siding.  They are also asking for decorations such as knitted flowers for a small garden to accompany the house.  The only stipulation is that the shingles and siding must be able to lay flat and can be knitted in the craziest of colors and textures of yarn.  If knitters need yarn, they are invited to check out the back of Mass Ave Knit Shop for spare yarns.  After the Cultural Trail Celebration, Trusted Mentors will use the yarn bombed house to bring awareness to homelessness at other functions around the city.

So make sure you are getting down on the Cultural Trail this weekend for its official grand opening and keep your eyes out for some warm and fuzzy street art.

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About The Author

Erin Mattingly  /  IUPUI

Erin Mattingly / IUPUI

Erin Mattingly is a graduate of IUPUI. She holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in writing and literacy and a minor in Women’s Studies. She lives in the Chatham Arch neighborhood in downtown Indy with her wife, Denise, and their cat, Boa. Erin enjoys knitting and volunteer outreach—specifically LGBT... more

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